A federal lawmaker representing Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency, Hon. Tajudeen Adefisoye has sponsored a bill for the establishment of Nigerian Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps.
The bill passed through its first reading on Tuesday, during plenary that was presided over by the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Sole aim and objective of the bill are to secure the safety of Nigerian coastal and inland waterways. The bill if passed into law, is expected to go a long way in stemming the high tide of sea piracy on water high way and it will also serve as a means of employment for thousands of unemployed Nigerian youths.
Similarly, the bill if passed into law is also expected to drastically reduce the astronomic level of vandalism occasioned on Nigerian waterways and high sea.
Meanwhile, it is also envisaged that if the bill is enacted into law, it will provide an avenue of direct employment for several thousand of Nigerian youth as seafarers, going by the latest statistics of more than 5,000 vessels operating in the nation’s seas.
Also, the bill if enacted, will help to curb illegal importation of sophisticated weapon into Nigeria through the sea, to avoid the further proliferation of arms that is already becoming very rampant. Establishment of Nigerian Merchant Navy corps is also expected to perform anti-smuggling operations, thereby assisting in the enforcement of customs laws.
Moreso, the Nigerian Merchant Navy bill sponsored by Adefisoye, if passed into law will also see to the effective performance of anti-piracy operation; which will confront and combat the activities of armed robbers and bandits on the waterways. Also, the establishment of the Nigerian Merchant Navy will also ensure the performance of anti-illegal fishery; whereby the corps is expected to assist in the enforcement of customs laws in anti-fishery operations.
In addition, the Nigerian Merchant Navy if established by law, will perform the civic responsibilities of participating in internal security operations to aid civil authority. It is also envisaged that the agency will participate in the restoration of peace and the resolution of the conflict between oil companies and host communities.
Furthermore, the bill if passed into law is envisaged to bring stability to the economy as well as ensuring a conducive environment for foreign investors in the maritime and oil sectors of the economy. Also, enactment of the bill is expected to drastically reduce the fund spent annually on the repair of vandalized pipelines as well as the additional billions spent in the upstream and downstream.
It was further posited that enactment of the bill will help reduced the burden placed on Nigerian Navy as well as shifting the responsibility paradigm, in order to have a definite approach to the issue of maritime insecurity surrounding the entire gulf of Guinea. It was, however, posited that the bill is necessary for the survival and sustainability of the Nigerian economy.